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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Enormous Fire Destroyed Homes In A Philippine Community

Over 400 families are left homeless because of an enormous fire

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George Buid
George Buidhttp://www.georgebuid.com/
An independent photojournalist of the Philippines capturing life as it passes by. He contributes to different news outlet and press publications.

PHILIPPINES. Cavite: An enormous fire has left many families homeless. The families of two barangays prepare for the coming super Typhoon Goni after a fire destroyed several of their homes.

The villages Barangay Alima and Barangay Sineguelasan prepare for the approaching storm. On Sunday, a fire startled the citizens of Barangay Alima at 10:16 PM on 1 Nov. 2020. The enormous fire spread to the next village, Barangay Sineguelasan. The fire alarm raised to the fourth level at 10:46 PM.

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The houses in the coastal area of Manila Bay, in Bacoor City, are huts on stilts. The city government declared fire out at 1:28 PM. The incident has left around 400 families homeless as a consequence.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of Bacoor City reported that the fire originated from a house in Barangay Alima. People speculate that the enormous fire was intentional or arson. The BFP will further investigate the cause of the incident.

A woman cleans mussels and places them in a sack (top photo). Wooden boats (bottom left photo) not affected by the fire, and a damaged green boat along with the burned houses (bottom right photo).
Photo credit: George Buid ©05 Nov. 2020

Bacoor City Government’s actions and plans

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The Bacoor City Government evacuated the families to nearby schools. The families of Barangay Alima took temporary shelter in Bacoor Central Elementary School, and families of Barangay Sineguelasan sheltered in Sineguelasan Elementary School. Government officials have promised to give aid and financial help to the affected by the enormous fire.

Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla stated on several local news networks that the city government would take care of the victims of the disastrous fire. She said, “We will allocate ₱10,000 to each family. Also, we ask help from the national government to access emergency housing funds for the fire victims, and to feed them for three weeks.”

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Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., the husband of Mayor Revilla and former vice-governor of Cavite, promised that the families affected by the enormous fire would be allowed to go back to their respective villages. He said, “Expect that we will not leave you alone. So, you can live where you want to live. And, if you do not want to leave where your home is. Then, you can go back there, and we will leave you alone.”

Senator Bong Revilla talks to the victims (left photo), and the construction worker builds the pillar skeletal frame in Cavite (right photo). Photo credit: Pond News Asia\Elmer Nev Valenzuela (Left) Emerito Antonio (Right)

In 2014, Sandiganbayan (Pillars of the Country) accused and arrested Senator Revilla Jr. for corruption in linkage to the Pork Barrel Scam. However, he was released on 7 Dec. 2018. His family took several political positions in the local government of Cavite. Now, Mayor Revilla proposed a Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project in the coastal areas.

Families of Sineguelasan express dismay and hopelessness after the fire

The families of the two villages refuse to accept the fire accident story. In 2017, a fence blocked access to the fishing ground in Barangays Maliksi I and Maliksi III. The same occurred to Tabing Dagat in 2019 to give way to the development project of Bacoor City.

The people of Barangay Sineguelasan are skeptical of the promises of their local government officials. Transcontinental Times shares the sentiments of the victims of the enormous fire.

Marcelino shares his sentiment with a long face and almost teary eyes. He said, “We guard what the fire has left behind. Also, they (the government) said they would help us.” However, the only livelihood he knows is mussel farming.

He is one of the six men who have found shelter in a house left standing from the ashes of the community. They reported it only took like 15 minutes for the enormous fire to burn their homes. Yet, the firefighters did nothing to stop the spread of the damage.

Firefighters on the roof of a house at the enormous fire that burned Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor City, Cavite. Photo credit: Pond News Asia\Roderick Tan ©01 Nov. 2020

Sander, a squid catcher, said, with shoulders down and a brief burst of breath, “An ugly incident that has happened to us. We lost everything. Yet, they promised ₱10,000, but, they will fix the place by dumping concrete.”

Families evacuated in Sineguelasan Elementary School shared their experiences. Maria, a woman who used to rent one of the burned houses, said, “I was also a victim of the landslide in Naga, Bicol. The fire started at 10:00 PM, but, the children evacuated earlier because of the super typhoon. A ₱30,000 amount for us if we plan to move.”

Gemma has lived in Sineguelasan for 16 years and has worked as a tailor. She owns a house that is now but ashes.

Ronico has lived in the same community since 1972 because his uncle earned and profited reasonably as a mussel farmer. He became a mussel farmer; now, it is all gone. He said, “They will move us to Naic or Salinas, which is away from the coastal area.”

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